Well it seems that Paul Newman is slightly cooler than Steve McQueen in the auction world — or at least Newman’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytona was in higher demand than the TAG Heuer watch McQueen wore on the last day of filming the movie LeMans. But both of them achieved great prices, and the TAG Heuer even set a world record, at the weekend’s Racing Pulse auction at Phillips’ flagship New York. The biggest-ticket watch sold was Newman’s Daytona that raked in $5.5 million. The TAG Heuer Monaco that McQueen wore when filming Lemans (The movie that put the watch on the map) sold for $2.2 million –setting a record price for any Heuer watch sold at auction.
Modern-day movie star Sylvester Stallone also made top billing with a set of four Richard Mille watches and the Panerai watch he wore in the movie Daylight. The five watches together fetched $3.1 million — more than three times its estimate. There was also a charitable component to the auction, with a group of a dozen watches under the “Time Counts” label achieving $2.1 million to benefit the One Drop Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. In total, all but one of the 136 lots sold and the auction realized $27.6 million — contributing to Philips’ record-setting year.
Paul Newman’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytona
Paul Newman’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytona, which sold for $5,475,000 to an anonymous private collector, marked the third highest price ever for a Rolex watch at auction. The most expensive Rolex sold at auction was another one owned by Newman — the one that coined the phrase Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, sold for $17.8 million three years ago. This watch, though, raised a remarkable $5.475 million thanks to provenance of the piece. It was a gift from Joanne Woodward, Newman’s wife, and is engraved on the case back with the words “Drive slowly, Joanne.” The reference was to Newman’s fast racing. The watch belonged to Paul Newman’s daughter.
Heuer Monaco Worn By Steve McQueen in LeMans and Gifted to His Personal Mechanic
The sale also set a record price for any Heuer timepiece, with the iconic Monaco worn by Steve McQueen in the film Le Mans and that he had gifted to his personal mechanic, Haig Alltounian. It sold for $2.2 million, 10 times its estimate. This watch was an incredibly important watch on so many fronts, and McQueen’s wearing it in the movie was most likely what put the Monaco on the world map. At the end of the last day of filming, McQueen took the watch (one of six worn on the set) off of his wrist and gifted it to his personal mechanic and the mechanic for all of the cars in the film, Haig Alltounian. Before giving it to Alltounian, McQueen had the case back engraved with the words “Thank you for keeping me alive all these months.”
Sly Stallone’s Watches
Five watches from Sylvester Stallone’s personal collection were up for auction, as well, and they commanded some nice prices. The Panerai Luminor he wore in the movie Daylight achievied $214,200. It is considered one of the most important modern Panerai wristwatches to ever be sold publicly, because it signified the brand’s modern-day renaissance. In total, Sly’s selection of pieces by Richard Mille all soared past their estimates, most notably the Ref. RM 52-01, which realized $998,000. and the RM 032 that he wore in the movie The Expendables III sold for $816, 500. The RM 25-01 Adventure Tourbillon Chronograph — that was created as an answer to “What watch would Rambo wear?” sold for $937,500.
Other brands also sold well at the auction. Vintage and modern Patek Philippe wristwatches sold particularly well, with a modern ref. 3974G minute repeater with perpetual calendar, one of only 5 known, achieving a remarkable $1,022,200. A vintage perpetual calendar watch, Ref. 3448, nicknamed the “Pristine Padellone” and consigned by the family of the original owner, achieved $529,200 at auction.